The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria Branch (CIArb), has appealed to the federal government to draw up a national arbitration policy that will enhance its practice in the country.
The institute also advised FG to consider the policy as strategy to drive national economy into buoyancy, which would save jobs, prevent judgement debts and attract foreign investment.
It made this known at a two day annual conference, themed, ‘Positioning Africa: The Changing Landscape in Alternative Dispute Resolution’ that held in Lagos recently.
Speaking at the programme, Chairman of CIArb , Nigeria Branch, Mr. Olatunde Busari, also pointed out the need to improve capacity of dispute resolvers in the continent.
He acknowledged the importance of filling the capacity gap, which he said, informed the theme of the conference.
“As mediation takes center-stage in the new UN treaty on mediation, it has become necessary to undertake an in-depth study of the Singapore Convention and its implication for cross border settlement in Nigeria.
“Arbitrability and the enforcement of arbitral awards is at the centre of any arbitration process. It touches on the capacity and jurisdiction of the arbitrator or the arbitral tribunal to embark on an arbitration with respect to any matter referred to them.
“The public policy reason for non-arbitrability of certain disputes are borne out of public desire to protect the state and public interest. Enforcement and enforceability of arbitral awards gives credence to the process resulting in the expansion and increasing use of arbitration.
“For this reason, arbitrability and public policy considerations have become a recurrent issue faced by arbitrators, judges, contract drafters and other stakeholders.”
Also speaking at the event, Chartered Arbitrator, Africa Trustee, Mr. Kariuki Muigua, identified some challenges hindering ADR practice in Africa.
According to him, the challenges include infrastructure deficit, low uptake of arbitration and ADR, unsupportive legal systems, travel restrictions, insufficient use of technology and huge costs associated with arbitration.
He said: “We must find a way to surmount these challenges and take our rightful place with the eagles of the top of the mountain.”
The conference was attended by over 600 delegates from 12 countries across five continents.